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Robustness of Efficient Passenger Boarding Strategies for Airplanes

Ferrari, Pieric; Nagel, Kai

FG Verkehrssystemplanung und Verkehrstelematik

Common wisdom is that airplanes make money only when they are in the air. Therefore, turnaround time (turn time) on the ground should be reduced as much as possible. An important contribution to the turn time is airplane boarding time. Many different schemes are in use, from random seat selection to sophisticated boarding groups. A simulation model is described to evaluate different boarding strategies. In contrast to earlier work, it puts special emphasis on disturbances, such as a certain number of passengers not following their boarding group but boarding earlier or later. A surprising result of this work is that the typical back-to-front boarding strategy becomes improved when passengers do not board with their assigned group. Other proposed strategies still consist of small numbers of boarding groups but are both faster and more robust with regard to disturbances.